Girls the world over force their feet into heels come Friday night, desperately seeking the glamour and sophistication so often associated with wearing stilettos. Do we really need to be doing this to ourselves? And, more appropriately for me, where do tall girls stand when it comes to heels?
The feminist in me argues that heels are merely a tool for women to manipulate the male gaze’s perception of her body, and therefore make her seem more attractive. Thus, heels are merely another example of how a woman requires a man in order to survive. Or at least, requires someone, male or otherwise, to help her walk to the taxi at the end of a night. Therefore, we should, as a gender, say no to heels and the controlling male gaze they represent. However, one can argue that a woman’s choice to wear heels is entirely individual; she wants to appear taller, more elegant, with thinner, longer legs and a rounder, curvier bum. Is she doing this for male appeal, or even, for female approval? Either way, it is her conscious decision to wear the heels; no man is standing over her forcing them onto her feet. That, in some ways, is feminist.
What about if you’re tall, where do we stand as taller women in terms of heels, feminism and what is considered socially acceptable? At six foot tall, I stand higher than the majority of men I encounter, some of whom have thought it entirely necessary to comment on how my height puts them off or makes me seem more masculine to them. I don’t particularly mind comments like that now, but as a teenager, they crushed me. I didn’t even consider wearing heels for years as I saw extra height as just adding to my perceived masculinity. If we stand at 6’5 in heels, towering over men in a club, does that matter? As taller women will we attract men, or even, do we want to? Therefore is there a divide between those seeking height and elongated limbs to be deemed attractive, and those hiding from their height for fear of drawing unwanted, negative attention to it? I suppose most importantly, why is this even an issue for us in the first place?
I am often told to avoid heels by people, often those who don’t even know me, who just see me browsing in a shoe shop and say “you don’t need those heels dear!” However, now is the time to embrace your height! The arrival of spring means we can dust off our toes, make them presentable again and slip on some sandals and stand tall. No man or woman should make you feel as though you’re wrong for wearing or not wearing heels, it should be your decision, or perhaps the decision of how quickly your feet rub against the shoes!